Israeli politicians from left to right praise US killing of Iranian commander; Arab MKs condemn strike

Knesset members representing both the left and the right tweeted praise for the U.S. strike. Condemnation came only from the predominantly Arab Joint List.

By World Israel News Staff

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, together with other leading security officials, convened at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Friday morning to discuss the security situation in the aftermath of the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Athens for the signing of a major three-way gas pipeline agreement with the leaders of Cyprus and Greece, returned home ahead of schedule on Friday morning following confirmation of the killing. Bennett was serving as acting prime minister in his absence.

Netanyahu has requested that the ministers and security officials not make public statements on the assassination.

However, Knesset members representing both the left and the right tweeted praise for the U.S. strike. Condemnation came only from the predominantly Arab Joint List, noted Times of Israel.

“I congratulate President Trump and the entire Middle East on the strike that killed Qassem Soleimani,” tweeted Yair Lapid, second to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. “He planned and led deadly terror attacks from Damascus to Buenos Aires and is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent civilians. He got exactly what he deserved.”

MK Keti Shitrit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party tweeted: “Congratulations to the United States on the eradication of an arch-terrorist, the biggest terrorist in the Middle East. The U.S. landed a hard, significant blow to Iran. We woke up to a new Middle East.”

Amir Peretz, head of the center-left Labor-Gesher party, said he “welcomes the elimination of the Soleimani terror architect,” but, while praising the IDF for ‘preparing for every scenario,” he took the opportunity to censure the government for not providing adequate protection of residential buildings and public buildings in the north, warning that it must be done “before it’s too late.”

Labor-Gesher MK Omer Barlev tweeted his “congratulations to President Trump and the US military for the successful execution of the elimination of the Soleimani snake head,” praising America’s “accurate intelligence, smooth execution and excellent results.”

“It’s a better day for humanity,” he said.

Quoting the Book of Judges, 5:31, MK Moti Yogev of Bayit Yehudi tweeted: “So may all your enemies perish.”

But MK Ofer Cassif, the only Jewish lawmaker representing the predominantly Arab Joint List, slammed the U.S. for the assassination, Times of Israel reported.

“Whoever opens champagnes today doesn’t understand that killing Soleimani can lead to an attack on Israel,” he said. “If American thuggery costs Israeli lives it will be on Trump’s hands and his friend, the fugitive criminal Netanyahu.”

Fellow Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman, the Times continued, similarly commented that “the Trump administration is endangering the lives of all people in the Middle East — Iranians, Israelis and everyone in between. No to war!”

According to the Times, former Mossad chief Danny Yatom told Army Radio: “There are more senior Iranian generals, but there is no Iranian general with greater influence. He did whatever he liked and was very close to [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei.”

“Blue and White MK Ram Ben-Barak, a former deputy Mossad head, told Army Radio that Soleimani’s killing was on the same scale as Israel’s targeted killing in 2008 of Imad Mughniyeh, the deputy commander of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah,” the Times said.